My last post focused on the “big three” components of outer branding: presence, personal impact and personal style. But there are other attributes of our outer brands that also require some thought, such as our lifestyle identity and online presence. I’ve also added something I call “paper presence”.
So let’s add these questions to your outer brand inventory!
Lifestyle Identity. Lifestyle may not always be an apparent part of personal branding, but what we do and how we live our lives can add dimension and interest to our brands. Everything from traveling and cultural events to your favourite sports conveys a message about you.
- In my December post, I asked if your lifestyle (home, leisure, health) in 2013 aligned with the image you intended to project. How would others describe your current lifestyle? Are they getting the right messages about you?
- Do you have unique hobbies or activities that others might be interested in knowing more about? Who would be an appropriate audience to share these with?
- Is there more to your life than just work? In other words, how healthy is your work-life balance? Are you effectively managing stress? For a little help with stress management, check out my April and May 2013 posts!
- Assess your home and office environment. Are they organized and engaging, or chaotic and intimidating? What are they telling your visitors about you?
Online Presence. Everything that we post online ultimately tells others what we are about. In many ways, social media serves as a personal PR opportunity for our brands. As every public online action you take helps build (or compromise) your personal brand, investing the time in getting the right online image is critical.
- Do a “health check” of your online identity. What comes up when you Google yourself? Are the links and images reflective of the personal brand you intend to represent to others? Do you dominate the first two to three pages? If results yield others who share your name, how can you differentiate yourself from them?
- Are you using a variety of social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to get your name out there? Is your personal bio up-to-date and engaging? Are your posts “brand consistent” and reflective of your values, passions, vision and causes? Also think about indirect posts (e.g., your “likes”, comments) and what they say to others.
- Do you have a personal website? Is it constant with your brand? Who is the target audience? Is it representative of your brand image (e.g., logo, professionalism, images, bio)?
Paper Presence. This one is easily overlooked but still critical to outer branding. “Paper presence” is how you appear in print. This includes things like business cards, letterhead, flyers, and personal correspondence such as thank you notes. Logos, fonts, colours and images are as important in print as they are online.
- What image do you want to convey? Have you given careful thought to colours, fonts and a logo? Are they consistent with your online presence?
- Business cards are extremely important to get right. They are part of one’s first impression of you, and are the “piece” of your brand that others will literally take with them. Is your card of good quality stock and professional looking? Is it distinct enough to stand out against other business cards in one’s wallet? Will it be one others might consider worth keeping? Do you have a website, email or social media links listed to direct others to you online?
- Personal stationary such as invitations, holiday cards and thank you notes can make a lasting impressions on others. Do they convey quality and neatness or are they flimsy looking and a rush job? Hand written thank you notes are always a nice touch and add an element of thoughtfulness and good manners to your personal brand!